Ignatieff and Scott: Individual and Group Identity (Essay Sample)
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Ignatieff and Scott: Individual and Group Identity
The world we live in has several influencing elements which profoundly manipulate the people that live inside it. Every little thing that surrounds an individual tends to impact the mentality of the individual at least to a certain extent. In “The Narcissism of Minor Difference,” Michael Ignatieff describes various aspects that bring individuals together, defining their activities as individuals and as a group. Similarly, in “Behind the Official Story,” James Scott gives an engaging discussion and the relationship between the powerful and the powerless in the society, and behaviors that lead to resistance, and subordination in a given culture. In this essay, in the light of Ignatieff‘s “The Narcissism of Minor Difference,” we are going to discuss the relationship between an individual and the group they belong to. Furthermore, using Scott’s “Behind the Official Story,” we are going to discuss what impact does the social group has on the behavior of the person. It is common that group identity supersedes individual identities, almost disregarding their very existence. Presently, the majority of the people globally are giving in to the rules and customs that are considered appropriate, giving more preference to group identity over personal identity.
Everybody has a different perspective regarding the various rules and customs that they are forced to follow daily. These perspectives are what that define their individuality. According to Ignatieff, it is not necessary for the individual to agree from their culture or society because they are formed from a collective perspective of many people (48). Besides, Scott captures the thoughts of Old Tiennon who “prides himself on having learned, unlike his tactless and unlucky father, ‘the art of dissimulation so necessary in life’” (2). This means that there are times when an individual felt it hard to suppress the aggression and wants to defy against the norms and rules that are set by the group. However, in the end, the individual has to suppress their aggression in order to go with the flow. The element that differs one society from another is according to the beliefs of people that reside there in the past. Ignatieff quoted “There is nothing genetically coded about the antagonisms between ethnicities, races, and gender” (52). Ignatieff further discussed on this topic by saying that the difference in customs, values, and beliefs are maybe not as significant as people think, perhaps they are just some rules that are set by previous political settings for their benefit and liking (52). However, people are brought up with learning about the significance of these customs and beliefs. Therefore, everyone has set a sense of right and wrong according to these rules. There is a popular saying by Chuck Palahniuk in which he states “Nothing of me is original, I am the combined effort of everybody I have ever met and known” This indicates the manifestations of multiple personalities which held different views and opinions. Somewhere between this, the real personality and initial views of the individual is lost. According to Scott, this act happens subconsciously and in order to have a sense of belonging with the people the individual is with (13). However, it does not alter the fact that every individual has their preferences and they are more inclined to towards them
There are certain aspects in every culture that are likely to bind every member together, bringing a sense o belonging. Such may include language, traditions, beliefs, and customs, all of w...
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